As 2015 comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on the last year. It has definitely been one of the craziest yet. One of the hardest years, but still a good year. I’ve learned so much from walking through this cancer treatment process with my sister, Kristine, which will stick with me for the rest of my life.
It starts with the balloon t-shirt design that Kristine drew: “It’s not about the destination…it’s about the adventure.” First of all, we don’t mean you shouldn’t dream or have goals – absolutely have those. However, sometimes we get more stuck on that destination – on the big house with a white picket fence, on more money, on a cure, or whatever it is for you – than on living in the moment well. For Kristine, the destination is her finishing treatment and being cured of cancer. But how fun is that going to be if this whole 2+ years of treatment she’s depressed, angry, afraid, hopeless, and lonely? (All of which are completely understandable – treatment is like hell). So, I guess without even realizing it, we turned staying happy during this hard time in life into an challenge...
Kristine is naturally one of the happiest people I know, but I knew she was going to need some help staying that way when she was diagnosed with leukemia – one of the reasons I’m sticking by her during the whole process. We started this 'stay happy' project with her bedroom makeover: painted her room bright happy colors, mounted her big TV, new bright bedding, a keyboard, and desk. Then my room we turned into a game room, complete with foosball table, couch/bed, TV, Xbox, Wii, dart board, Batman mural, and games piled to the ceiling. That was all fun. Then we started coloring funny things on shirts and long story short, “Catch Some Air” was created.
We’re kind of insane for starting a business (and one centered on giving stuff away) with hardly any savings, when I’m not working so I can help Kristine, and when Kristine physically cannot work, but this is the path our happy adventure has taken us on. I’m slowly digging myself into debt and don’t know how I’ll pay the small amount of bills I have each month. Normally, this would have really bothered me. But right now, I know I am right where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to do, and I will dig myself out eventually. Why? Because we’ve found that putting smiles on other people’s faces is what makes Kristine and me the happiest – so we’re going to keep giving fun happy shirts away! At the beginning of this, we literally had our doctor telling us to stop giving all our shirts away and to start selling them too. Haha – good plan if we want to keep it going (thanks Doc!).
Anyway, this thing called life is no cake walk. What we’re going through is hard – but everyone goes through hard stuff. It might be just as hard for the guy who lost his job, or the great foster parents whose kids were taken away by the rule of a new judge. It is easy to get down in the dumps, to blame someone, something, or God for our problems. It’s also our choice to do something different – to stay happy, and make someone else who’s going through a hard time happy too (plus, it is WAY more fun). That’s not to say everything will be good and dandy forever. We still go through really hard days. We just don’t like to stay there very long. :)
So, while you’re setting goals this year, I want to challenge you to set some that make the world a happier place. One of my goals is to intentionally make at LEAST one person smile - one person happier because they interacted with me - every single day of this year. It can be as easy as commenting on a blog, social media, or leaving awesome reviews (hint hint), opening a door for someone, talking to an old person, or making silly faces at kids (that works on us too – even better, posting your silly faces while wearing our shirts). In 2016 remember: it’s not all about the destination – don’t wait for things to get better or wait on that dream to come true. Work towards that, but live right NOW well. Stay happy, make someone else happy, and enjoy this adventure of life. (Oh, and buy your Adventure shirt to remind you of that every day ;) )
Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!